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Sunlight powers emergency light production at Clevertronics

Look around your office and it’s almost certain you’ll spot an illuminated exit sign somewhere. On an average day, no-one notices emergency lighting. But when there’s a blackout or a fire, these smart, disc-shaped light fittings recessed in ceilings and stairwells can save lives.

Emergency lighting manufacturer Clevertronics is a market leader in their field and is recognised as a sustainability leader too. The type of lights Clevertronics produces are a mandatory feature of buildings like offices and hospitals, with regular testing and reporting dictated by law in most countries.

Along with innovation, energy efficiency is hardwired into Clevertronics’ DNA. The company’s leaders walk the talk when it comes to environmental responsibility, and its products lead the market in sustainability and energy efficiency.

As part of its sustainability strategy, Clevertronics has long been interested in purchasing a solar installation, but its previous premises presented a hitch.

school solar

Project snapshot

200 kW solar array

444 x 450W panels

Surface area: 660m² 

Supports: manufacturing and EV charging

Solar provides 55% of energy needs

Annual CO₂ reduction: 200 tonnes

Annual energy production: 254MWh (forecasted)

opensolar and smart ease

“Our previous location was fragmented with a number of small buildings on the premises − not really conducive to solar.

When we moved to our new building (as anchor tenant on a modern industrial estate) in late 2019, everything aligned. With a long-term lease, a nice big roof space with no shade, and owners who were totally happy for us to add value to their investment in the form of commercial solar array, the time was right.”

Andrew Murray, Product Support Manager, Clevertronics

The solution

Clevertronics engaged Smart Ease Channel Partner Smart Commercial Solar to install a 200kW rooftop solar array. Divided into two areas to support manufacturing and EV charging, a total of 444 x 450W panels were installed. The panels cover a surface area of 660m² – larger than your average football field.

A Smart Ease payment solution was included as part of Smart Commercial Solar’s initial proposal and Clevertronics jumped at the option. Low interest rates meant cash was “cheap” at the time, so funding their solar array via a Smart Ease Payment Plan made more sense than allocating their own funds to the project.

opensolar and smart ease

“We have a longstanding partnership with Smart Ease, and we integrate their payment options in all our proposals using their API.

“Clevertronics decided quite late in December that a finance solution was the preferred method of procurement. Any other lender would have deferred until January, but the Smart Ease team was responsive and got the documentation through before the end of year, in line with the customer’s budgetary deadlines.”

Anastasi Kotoros, Head of Marketing, Smart Commercial Solar

The win

Clevertronics’ solar installation now provides 150kW of solar for its manufacturing production area with an additional 50kW earmarked for future EV charging stations. Clevertronics has found that 150kW is the ideal amount to meet their weekday manufacturing demand – on the weekends, power is fed back into the grid. At this point, the business uses 55% solar and draws 45% of its energy from the grid to cover overnight production.

The solar array accounts for an estimated annual CO₂ reduction of 200 tonnes. With a forecasted energy production of 254MWh per year, Clevertronics’ reliance on external power has dropped by over 50% − and exports enough energy to the grid to power twelve average homes. For eight months of the year, Clevertronics generates more power than it consumes, which means it’s now classified as a power generator.

“Our solar installation has more than met our expectations, and we look forward to the next stage of installing EV charging stations,” said Andrew Murray, Clevertronics’ Product Support Manager.

Solar installation

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